8th Circ. Upholds Dismissal In Shell Oil Franchise Spat

Law360, Washington (August 14, 2014, 5:45 PM EDT) -- The Eighth Circuit on Thursday upheld a lower court's dismissal of a contract suit against Shell Oil Co. by operators of its gas stations, saying a U.S. district judge had not abused his discretion in tossing the case after finding the plaintiffs deliberately destroyed evidence.

A three-judge panel found the record supported a Missouri district court's decision that Sentis Group Inc. and Coral Group Inc. intentionally and systematically suppressed evidence about its finances, causing sufficient prejudice to Shell's case to serve as sanctionable spoliation warranting dismissal.

The panel noted that the Eighth Circuit had previously remanded the acrimonious case in 2009,...

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